too many words by laura lemay

liquid skin

I cut off the tip of my finger again. This time I was slicing bread for croutons and not paying attention. Cutting off the tip of your finger with a chef’s knife like I did last time is one thing; the cut tends to be quick and fairly clean. Doing it with a serrated bread knife: ouch.

Thanks to cleaning out the entire first aid section of my local drug megamart after my bike accident a bunch of months back I have a huge array of bandaging supplies to choose from. But I also have this stuff called New Skin, one of many brands of liquid bandage. I’ve been using this stuff for minor nicks and wounds which I get all the time because I am a klutz, and New Skin is the tits. (that’s good.)

I first saw this liquid skin stuff in action during the TV coverage of the Tour de France a few years back. Cyclist falls on a nasty stretch of pavement and scrapes all the skin off his left butt cheek. He gets back on his bike and limps up to the medical car. Team doctor leans out the window and sprays the wound with liquid skin et voila! cyclist is now just fine and can ride another 200 miles. Brilliant! I had to get some.

New Skin is, conceptually, superglue with a little bit of alcohol. The bottle I have doesn’t spray on; it has a little brush, like nail polish. After you brush the stuff on it dries in a minute or so and then its stuck permanently to your skin (do not press your other finger to it to see if its dry). The wound stays clean and dry and heals up underneath it. This is a huge improvement for me over band-aids, which seem to always get damp and messy. Plus they are incredibly annoying stuck on the end of my finger, thus preventing accurate typing and other important daily skills. I can put on the new skin and get on with my life.

There are a few drawbacks. Depending on how large the wound is, it stings like you would not believe. I’ve only put it on small cuts. Road rash: ow. ow. Those Tour de France riders are really hard core. It is also really smelly. Really. And the smell does not go away, ever. Given that you have to re-apply the stuff twice a day or so you just have to get used to the smell.

Also: the liquid skin will hold up under ordinary household use but its not like its made of steel. I found this out the hard way yesterday when I went for a ride, broke open the cut on my finger in the first mile and bled all over my bike. I guess the Tour de France stuff must be some kind of industrial grade liquid skin.

Now if only I could find the product that would keep me from repeatedly slicing up my fingers in the first place. No-Klutz. I’d buy a case of that.